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Leading technologies presented in Australia

Almost 300 representatives from Australia's leading companies and peak bodies have attended a round of industry presentations on new CSIRO technologies for the Built Environment.

The road show, dubbed the New Millennium Science Launch took in functions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane through July and August.

Organisations represented included Lend Lease, Pasminco, Arnotts Biscuits, Hooker Cockram, ANZ Bank, Orica, CSR Monier Wunderlich, NM Rothschild, Global Pacific Technologies, Boeing Australia, NSW Road Traffic Authority, Sydney Water Corporation and Baulderstone Hornibrook.

The aim was to brief industry on Australia's largest R&D investment in the build environment sector in which CSIRO has earmarked $105 million to undertake research to develop new products and technologies over the next three years.

"The new R&D program has been developed after exhaustive consultation with industry and is designed to deliver Australia a place in the competitive global environment of the 21st Century," Larry Little, the National Director of CSIRO Built Environment says.

Highlights of the message to industry promises exciting and challenging new opportunities to keep Australia at the forefront of emerging global technologies.

"The science portfolio for the new millennium includes work on a national intelligent freight transport system (ITS-Connect) for Australia. In this extensive programme to develop a national strategy, a pilot corridor in a major city will use advanced ITS technologies and techniques to study freight movements. This will offer state and commercial transport operators major benefits in saved time and cost, reduced wear and tear on vehicles and infrastructure and more predictability in their business operations," Mr Little says.

"We are well on course to meet our commitment to offer Advanced Technologies for Urban Water Management to secure water supply for a new generation of Australians.

"CSIRO's Advanced Technologies for Urban Water will answer the hard question of how we can make what we have go further. For example among a host of new water options CSIRO is working towards using storm water and options for large-scale storage in underground aquifers."

"CSIRO Urban Water has also found that, thanks to new technologies, small scale recycling and sewage treatment plants are now cost effective for many small Australian towns or even suburbs.

"The New Millennium Science Portfolio provides for New Environment Engineering for Human Productivity. For example the Sick Building Syndrome is costing Australian Business about $10 billion annually in lost productivity and illness. The air inside buildings is often more polluted than the air outside. To combat this CSIRO's R&D will produce a radical new hybrid natural ventilation option for domestic and commercial buildings.

"We are working on New Solid Waste Reactivation for Construction. CSIRO's closed loop recycling will offer the totally recyclable building. For example our researchers are now working on ways to allow concrete, cement and plasterboard to be recycled into new building products offering major savings and reductions in green house gas emissions from manufacturing.

"We have also launched a major campaign to reduce noise. In Sydney, police and councils are called to more than 100,000 noise complaints every year, most of which relate to noisy neighbours.

"CSIRO has begun a process for a review of the Standards relating to noise as urban densities rise and we are developing noise attenuation to control noise through the large expanse of glass used in commercial building facades."

These are the major elements of the New Millennium Science Portfolio which includes a thirteen point programme to ensure Australian industry can uptake CSIRO research targeted to ensure that in key areas where we are amongst the best in the world. This includes developing a new generation of polymer-based building materials with enhanced performance and recyclability and to develop new coatings technologies with improved durability, performance and environmental sustainability.

"Already CSIRO Built Environment has developed a new scanner to model and predict corrosion which means we can now offer industry the research tool which can considerably enhance the performance of coating on steel and zinc-aluminium building products," Mr Little says.

The Scanning Kelvin Probe is the most advanced probe of its kind in the world and underlines the very creativity CSIRO wants to offer industry to ensure in the new era of technology-driven building and construction we have at least given Australian companies the means to be world leaders.

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